The Art Of Delegating

All of us need to delegate at some point. Whether we're the person in charge or doing front-line work, delegating is a critical skill to be effective in the workplace. The difficulty is it requires the following four key behaviors:

  • Ability to instruct or teach
  • Patience
  • Allowing the other person to make mistakes
  • Letting go of an insatiable desire for control

Many of us have forgotten what's it's like to learn something new. Our own skills and competence came from others allowing us to step into new roles or responsibilities. We learn best by doing, and delegating to others gives them that opportunity to grow.

When delegating, keep in mind these three things:

  1. Does the delegatee understand what's expected of them? Don't assume. Ask!
  2. Are you prepared for the delegatee to make mistakes or come back with questions? If not, don't delegate the work. You're only setting them up for failure (in your eyes).
  3. Are you willing for this person to do the work using their style and method? How one performs the task is only one way it can be accomplished. Focus more on the outcome you're looking for, not the style or method someone uses to get there.